My parents swear I was born knowing how to read. There wasn't a long period of time where they read to me because pretty quickly I showed that I could read it myself perfectly fine thank you very much. So perhaps that is why I was never really drawn to the whole audio book premise. It never occurred to me to let someone else do the reading.
What if you don't like the narrator's voice? How do you mark passages that strike a chord which you might want to re-visit? Do you go crazy when the story starts cookin' and you have to sit patiently and wait for the reader to get to the good stuff? What do you do with your hands?
I never seem to have the right occassion for an audio book either. I have a 15 minute commute. I can't stand to read in short bursts like that - I need at least a half hour solid. I get most of my reading in at the gym on the eliptical while I have any variety of sporting events on the TV where the announcers queue me to the exciting parts. I couldn't watch the TV on mute and listen to a book - my mind would wander to the TV instead. And I'm not shutting off the TV since I don't want to miss the game. If I tried to listen while doing chores I'm afraid I'd become too engrossed in the story to focus on the job at hand. Plus, how am I supposed to get all that stuff done without my cleaning music to motivate me?
So when we planned our 1,300 mile road trip vacation I decided that this might be the perfect opportunity to give the audio book a try. I used to be able to read in the car when I was a young bookworm but these days it turns my stomach upside down for some reason. And if I'm not the one driving I get extremely bored with just music. That's why I generally listen to sports talk radio because the conversation keeps me thinking and interested - though I tend to miss exits and other such things which are imperative to the geographically challenged. So while riding along on this vacation with poor radio frequency, an audio book seemed like a great idea. Now the challenge was finding something that both Andy and I would agree upon.
Enter Sandy who is always singing the praises of this medium. Her terrific reviews are so good she could make me want to listen to something as boring as a history of the Puritans. Oh wait. That's what she DID make me want to read. Actually, I had put The Wordy Shipmates by Sarah Vowell on my To Read list about a year ago. But Sandy's audio book review jogged my memory and gave me the perfect selection to appease both Bumbles. For those not familiar, you can read Sandy's review here. She sums it up quite well. Essentially, an entertaining non-fiction book about history, specifically history taking place in and around the area we live, is something I knew Andy would like. And since it was on my list to begin with I figured why not give it a go.
Since I have turned into a Wordy Blogmate here I will get to the point - which is to sum up our experience with the audio book. Early on the first leg of driving, Andy (who just recently has gotten the hang of enjoying reading more than his Rolling Stone magazines) requested I pop in the first disc like the good Bumble that he is. I cannot convey how much it must have pained him to go for the book CD instead of the music CD. But knowing that we had 7 1/2 hours of listening to get through I popped the book right in. The author, whose voice often reminded me of Linus, began regaling us on the history of Puritan sermons and the basis for their religion back in England. Worried about what I had gotten us into, she suddenly veered off into comparisons with pop culture and modern politics which were laugh out loud funny. Good save, Sarah!
I found throughout our trip that I was generally the one to take a break from listening, feeling at times that I was living through a college lecture on theology. But never knowing when she would pepper in a Fonzie reference kept me coming back for more. The end really picked up when she got to the battles with the Indian tribes and finally there was some action going on aside from heckling church-goers. Squeezing in those last few tracks bumped up right against the Red Sox game which we had been deprived of for 8 days, and whose radio signal range we had just re-entered. It was tough setting aside the Sox, but we stayed with the audio book through to the end and were glad for the history lessons. We now consider ourselves quite the Puritan experts. We both agree that we would have given up on reading this book ourselves so without the audio option we never would have learned who the Hutchinson Parkway is named after or why it would have irked Boston's first political leader. Maybe that will come in handy some night at bar trivia.
We learned that audio books are something that helped us to get through all the traffic jams and long ugly stretches of highway by making the time go by more quickly. We also learned that lighter fare is probably better for staying awake instead of zoning out. But tackling a book that is really long or of a tougher subject can be less daunting with the audio route. In the end, it's nice to know there is more than one way to consume a book.THIS POST MENTIONED BY DAVID @ AUTHOR BLOG FOR "POST OF THE DAY"...THANKS DAVID! VISIT HIS REGULAR COLLECTION OF OFFERINGS FOR POSTS OF THE DAY.